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Arizona Cardinals name their 2021 Fan of the Year

The Cardinals awarded Robert Freedman as the team's 2021 Fan of the Year, as one of the most dedicated fans part the Red Sea.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — If you look hard enough, you will spot Robert Freedman inside State Farm Stadium each Sunday the Arizona Cardinals play a home game.

"I go to all the home games each season," Freedman said. "Then I do two or three road games a year as well."

Freedman has been a Cardinals fan since the early '90s before becoming a season ticket holder since 2007. In fact, the die-hard fan has only missed one home game during that span.

"They make me feel like a part of the team," Freedman said. "The Cardinals do a good job of making fans feel like you're a part of a football team. I feel like I'm part of a sports team!"

Freedman approaches life with a passion unlike any other. A unique spirit that extends well beyond cheering for his favorite team on Sundays.

Freedman was born 11 weeks early weighing just 1 pound 10 ounces. If he lived, doctors said he wasn't supposed to walk or talk.  

"It's a miracle," his mother Mickey said. "It brings tears to my eyes. It's very emotional to think passion has carried him to where he is today."

But this never slowed Robert down. As you fast forward decades later, Robert's zest for life continues to soar.

"I love making friends with everyone, giving high fives, fist bumps, and learning about everyone," Freedman said. "Whether it's the players, fellow fans or employees at the stadium because we're all people, we're all a team."

His love for the Cardinals quickly caught notice as he earned more than 200 nominations from friends and family, eventually becoming the team's Fan of the Year for the 2021 season.

The NFL launched the Fan of the Year contest presented by Captain Morgan to celebrate extraordinary fans who inspire others through their love of football and bring an “original spice” to what it means to be a fan.

"I think it's because of my passion and love for Cardinals football day in and day out," Freedman said.

The Fan of the Year has spent the last 12 years as a special education instructional assistant at Glendale Union High School District’s Washington High School. It's also inside these walls where Freedman's passion thrives. 

"You make kids feel empowered," Freedman said. "Just like all the teachers did for me when I was in high school. You want to be their positive mentor and be someone that is there, that believes in them and cares for them."

It's clear Freedman's passion extends outside State Farm Stadium, but also a well-earned honor for a fan who will never quit on his team regardless of the record.

"You feel like they're a teammate of yours," Freedman said. "That you're a Cardinal together."

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